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Worth fighting for a seat - we test drive Barrafina Adelaide Street

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So what do I need to know about Barrafina Adelaide Street?

In a nutshell, it's currently one of the best-reviewed restaurants in town, with a tiny number of seats, no bookings and consequently the very devil to get into. Owned by brothers Sam and Eddie Hart (who also own Fino, Quo Vadis and Barrafina Frith Street) the executive chef is the marvellous Nieves Barragán Mohacho.

Where should I sit?

Wherever you can. With so few seats, just getting a place here is winning. But if you turn out to be at the front of the queue, there are a few pointers. Groups of four should head to the back of the room where they can comfortably sit around the corner and face each other. Likewise, there's a bulge to the bar that makes that part easier for groups of three to chat. But if there's just one or two of you, try and get the spot opposite the josper grill for the best seat to watch the action.

So what exactly are my chances of getting a seat?

We arrived at 11.50am on a Friday and were second in line. But by the time the doors opened at 12pm, we'd picked a seat and taken our coats off the place was 2/3 full. You'll definitely have more chance if you don't mind dining solo - and this is as good a place as you'll find to do that in London - but if you turn up at around 1.45pm that's also a good time to snag a seat as the first lunch crowd head back to work.

What should I eat?

God, what shouldn't you? Definitely come with a greedy companion and an appetite so you can range all over the menu. Our lunch kicked off with a banderilla (£2) - a skewer of a quails egg wrapped in anchovy and olives. Fennel, The much-lauded crab croquetas (two for £6.50) are peerless in London.

And those milk-fed lamb kidneys (£8.50) that everyone's raving about? They come on a teeny grill, kept warm by charcoal underneath and if (like us) you think you're not kidney fans, then this is the dish to convert you, all smoke and sweetness. Comice pear and radish salad (£6.80) was a good choice to accompany this, fresh and acidic enough to cut through the richness of the kidneys.

Other highlights were from the specials menu - peppers filled with prawns and mushrooms and deep fried and we had timed our visit perfectly - this was the first service on the first day of calcot season which were served up fresh from the josper with a romanesco sauce.

And to drink?

We thought it best to kick with a glass of the Hart Brothers own label Manzanilla sherry (£6) which comes from the Hilgalgo bodegas in Sanlucar de Barrameda. And followed that with a delicious glass of The Flower & The Bee Ribeira from Coto de Gomaris (£7). Bottles range from a very reasonable £19 up to £82.

Overall thoughts:

Well you certainly don't need us to tell you how great Barrafina Adelaide Street is. Every other critic in town has already done that. But what you do need to know is that it isn't that hard to get a seat if you plan properly. And if that means taking the afternoon off work to do it, what you do need to know is that it's worth it.

Barrafina is at 10 Adelaide Street, London WC2N 4HZ. Find out more.

Hot Dinners ate as guests of Barrafina. Prices were correct at the time of writing. 

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